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Hey Voters — Can You Prove You're a Citizen on Demand?

Hey Voters — Can You Prove You're a Citizen on Demand?

Who gets to vote is becoming a partisan issue, just like who gets a vote.

Mostly Republicans in 19 states have proposed legislation that would require proof of citizenship at the voting booth. Not content with the strict identification requirements recently upheld by the Supreme Court, these states want to make sure illegal immigrants are not voting, and improve voter confidence in the system.

Democratic leaders oppose strict ID laws, saying they disproportionately keep poor, disabled, elderly, and minority citizens away from the polls. Birth certificates, for example, take weeks to get, cost money, and may be difficult to track down if they are lost or kept out of state.

Missouri's secretary of state estimates that the law would disenfranchise 240,000 citizens unable to prove citizenship on such short notice. That number could be significant in November, as Missouri is a swing state that will likely go Red or Blue by a thin margin.

Do we have to protect the rights of citizens who may have difficulty obtaining proof? Which is a graver risk: letting a non-citizen vote, or keeping a citizen from exercising the voting — the quintessential act of democracy? What if we could review votes later to disqualify non-citizens, while attaching stiffer penalties for fraud?


lula29 lula29 9 years
lilkimbo, See now, I thought that proof of citizenship was a standard requirement, because it is where I live. Of course it should be standard at registration, that just makes sense.
stephley stephley 9 years
I've got no real big problem with producing proof of citizenship once, when I register, but I'm still uncomfortable with such a requirement because it suggests fixing a problem that really doesn't exist. This will however, put a crimp on voter registration drives, because not many people carry proof of citizenship around with them.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 9 years
Just an FYI for everyone, this is the first line of the linked NYTimes article: The battle over voting rights will expand this week as lawmakers in Missouri are expected to support a proposed constitutional amendment to enable election officials to require proof of citizenship from anyone registering to vote. If seems like a lot (but not all) of the objections come from the idea that you would have to have proof of citizenship every time you vote, which, according to the article, is not the case. The laws want to require proof of citizenship to register. Does this change anyone's opinion?
lula29 lula29 9 years
I'm really showing my ignorance on this issue, so please forgive me. Where I live the requirements to get a license is stricter, which I think is a really good thing. From what I'm reading isn't the Real ID act suppose to make license requirements stricter and more uniform?
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Jude, you will be surprised to find out how many people do not possess an ID. I know several, sad to say and I have been on my GED students to get theirs.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
wow nica you are really passionate about this! perhaps i should dig a lil deeper...
nicachica nicachica 9 years
hehe...thanks for the laugh Rac. i didn't realize how much this post would boil my blood but it really does. i'm gonna have to get off for a bit...
nicachica nicachica 9 years
i was surprised by that too Jude, but unfortunately, a lot of people don't have govt. IDs (even if they should).
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
Call me old fashioned but I still feel that the landed gentry know what's best for everyone. Now where is my hansom driver? I must be at the Milverberry Seasonal!
nicachica nicachica 9 years
well MCpro, if it doesn't affect you, then i guess it shouldn't matter for anyone else...except if they don't have blond hair and blue eyes... no citizen should be disenfranchised because they don't "look American" and that's what really bugs me about these laws. It affects way too many different kinds of people and its the same people who get shafted over and over in this country (the poor, minorities, disabled, elderly). That's simply not fair or democratic.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
I gotta say, I may be dense, but I cannot imagine how anyone could not have at least some form of photo ID--even if not a driver's license, a state-issued ID or something like that.
mcpro26 mcpro26 9 years
I really do not have a problem with this as long as there is a system like the one set up in georgia where people who cannot afford a ID gets a free one before the election. I see nothing wrong with showing ID and citizenship because I have never had a problem with people not thinking I was a US citizen (blond hair, blue eyes, and a southern accent does not raise many questions about citizenship) LOL
nicachica nicachica 9 years
Here are some stats on the issue: The following statistics reflect those individuals who do not have photo identification: * 11% or as many as 21 million Americans * 36% of voters in Georgia over the age of 75 * 18% of Americans over 65 (6 million) * 25% of African Americans * 10% of 40 million people with disabilities * 15% of low income voters That's quite a few people who would be disenfranchised! I'm not saying this is a Republican/Democrat issue, but it's really unfortunate that mainly Republicans are pushing for this because it also hurts people who would otherwise vote for them.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
No one is saying you have to carry your birth certificate everywhere you go everyday, all anyone is saying is to bust it out once every 2 or 4 years! thats REALLY too much to ask???
nicachica nicachica 9 years
sorry Sy, but i had to use one of my 'red' passes for this one. It really does infuriate me. i didn't think it was that big of a deal until i started reading up on it. it's amazing how these laws are still passed today! consider the fact that few low-income people carry around documentation like that (including divers licenses) so when you go to a polling station to vote (LAWFULLY i might add) and you're denied your inherent right as a citizen to vote because you don't have that on you...that's right???? NO it is not! From the president of the League of Women Voters (non partisan group): : Photo ID requirements disproportionately affect the elderly, young people, racial and ethnic minorities, persons with disabilities and others. A number of studies have shown that certain segments of the population are far less likely to have ID than other Americans. For example, a recent survey at the University of Wisconsin has interesting information that the Committee should consider before it moves ahead in this area. The implementation of ID requirements can also cause problems for eligible voters. In Indiana, veterans recently were blocked from voting when poll workers refused to accept their Veterans Administration medical cards as sufficient ID. But the question of what ID is acceptable is just one of the problems. The process of determining whether a person actually matches their photo ID can be very subjective and open to discrimination as well.
syako syako 9 years
nica you used a team red icon ;)
syako syako 9 years
Any immigrant can get a drivers license. You do not have to be a citizen. My husband was here on a student visa and got a drivers license. He wasn't even a resident.
nicachica nicachica 9 years
all these laws do is disenfranchise minorities and the poor from voting. that is not acceptable and while it seems "innocent" and to "protect against voter fraud" that is absolute bullsh*t. show me a case where not showing ID has resulted in voter irregularities please!
lula29 lula29 9 years
Yeah Jillness, I agree. Don't you need your birth certificate and another form of ID to get a driver's license? Shouldn't the driver's license be enough then? I'm not carrying birth certificate around everywhere either. It's ridiculous.
stephley stephley 9 years
That's it Nica, there's something wrong with the new emphasis on proving citizenship.
nicachica nicachica 9 years
I'm not one for conspiracy theories but this absolutely harkens back to the days of the Jim Crow laws where you had to own property, pay a "poll tax," grandfather clause (where you couldn't vote unless your grandfather was eligible), etc. Of course, this was used to deter black and poor white people from voting in elections. This is nothing short of despicable and completely undemocratic. BOOO, HISS!!!! :MOB:
Auntie-Coosa Auntie-Coosa 9 years
Social Security Card is NOT proof of citizenship. Passport and Original Birth Certificate are. If you have no birth certificate, there are legal avenues you can use to prove citizenship. If you are a Naturalized Citizen, your Naturalization Certificate is valid. If you have a Green Card, you show that for proof of citizenship. All others need not apply. Your local Social Service agency can assist you.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
Aren't driver's licenses certified as well? I know mine has a hologram that covers half my face...very sexy. ;) I don't recommend that ANYONE send their documents through the US mail. The postal service is hanging on by a thread. I recieved over 1000 piece of mail last year that were not even for my address!! I spent a lot of time thinking, "How did an envelope addressed to a city in Georgia from another city in Georgia end up in California?"
stephley stephley 9 years
Birth and death certificates have to be certified to be any help. You can't get one and photocopy it to use. I was born in a military hospital centuries ago and getting anything from them always is a headache. I have a birth certificate at home, but really don't want to be putting it in my purse once or twice a year so that I can vote. And as a citizen, I shouldn't have to.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
What I love is how banks insist on having your second I.D. be a credit card. I just laugh and say yeah RIGHT!
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